Here’s What We’re Thankful for This Thanksgiving

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You knew we meant cars, right?

Ahhh… the waning days of 2021. It makes us grateful this year is almost over. And that we spent so much of the year test driving cars—something we could do even when the world was social distancing and staying home. And that finally, some of us got to connect in person for, what else, test driving cars. 

That’s what we did last week: 12 writers, 22 cars and not nearly enough time. But more on that later. A lot more. 

As we gathered and drove and tested out all the new technology and features in cars these days, it became clear that there’s a lot to be grateful for in our cars. Not just safety systems that keep us and our loved ones safe on the road. Or comfort that makes crawling along in bumper to bumper traffic a bit less painful. Or the basic fact that we have amazing cars to get us where we need to go, something that so many in the world wish for. 

Related: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: How to Get the Most Popular In-Car Phone Systems

So Many Cars, So Little Time!

So many cars (and this is just half the group), so little time! Photo: Scotty Reiss

In Car Features and Technology that Makes Us say ‘Thank You!’ 

So what exactly are we grateful for, and what do we want you to think about when you choose your next car? Here’s what our experts are glad they had on their test drives: 

Shannon McBride: Lane keep assist and lane departure alert. “Driving a bigger SUV on the 405 would have been far more stressful!” And yeah, 6 lanes across? This feature is also a lifesaver.

Related: The Safest Cars on the Road: New Technology Adds Up to Safety for Everyone

Volvo'S Heated And Cooled Seat Controls Are At The Bottom Of The Touch Screen

Volvo’s heated and cooled seat controls are at the bottom of the touch screen. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Teia Collier: “I’m thankful for cameras, surround sensor and vents in the back seat. Also heated and cooled seats; these saved my behind many times.” Ours, too.

Head Up Display In The Lexus Nx Actually Shows You The Driver Assist Features

Head up display in the Lexus NX actually shows you the driver assist features that are at work, here you can see them in the head up display. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Kirsten Alana: “Adaptive cruise control, because it makes being in highway traffic so much less stressful.” Now if only we can adaptively control the other stresses—other drivers, our passengers, the weather. We’ll keep wishing.

Related: 10 Easy (and Affordable) Ways to Add Modern Safety Technology to Your Old Car

The Rear View Camera Jeep Grand Cherokee

The rear view camera Jeep Grand Cherokee

Kymri Wilt: “Back-up cameras!” Now that they are standard equipment, thanks to a federal law, we are all seeing how valuable they are; and whey they give you a wide view and alert you to a person walking by or a car pulling in behind you, all the better.

Connie Peters: “Sport mode?” Well, now we know where Connie was when we couldn’t find her! 

Usb Ports For The Win In The Jeep Grand Cherokee

USB ports for the win in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Jill Robbins: “I’m thankful my test vehicle had so many charge ports so we can stay connected and not have to fight over who gets to plug their stuff in.” USB ports are the new cup holders: Every passenger needs one. Might we suspect this is an advancement prompted by engineers with teens jockeying for USB ports and getting shut out?

Donna Biroczky: “I’m thankful for heated seats— says a Californian!” We get it! California may be the only place where you need heated seats in the morning and cooled seats in the afternoon, and we love it! 

Stacie Connerty: “Backup cameras and parking cameras.” Oh, the bicycles and trash cans that are saved from certain death! 

Driver Assist Features Are Accessed On The Steering Wheel

Driver assist features are accessed on the left side of the steering wheel in the BMW 2 series; they include adaptive cruise, follow distance setting and lane departure assist. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Ciaran Blumenfeld: “I’m thankful for all the assistive technology, from blind spot monitors to parking assistance to traffic reports. I feel like cars today are like having mom, dad and personal assistant with you at all times without the annoying personal baggage. But when there is baggage, I’m grateful for the room to store it, too!” Well said, Ciaran! 

Mercedes-Benz May Have The Best Navigation - It'S Augmented With Video Views And Graphic Overlays

Mercedes-Benz may have the best navigation – it’s augmented with video views and graphic overlays

Sara Lacey: “I’m thankful for navigation systems, not just because it tells me how to get somewhere but it also tells me when.” And that’s the best.

Bmw'S Voice Assistant Is Always Ready To Help

BMW’s voice assistant is always ready to help. Photo: Scotty Reiss

I’ll weigh in here, too. My favorite new tech is the personal assistant. Just say “Hey, Lexus” or “Hey, BMW” or “Hey, Audi” and there’s an assistant at the ready to help you with whatever you need: call the restaurant, tell me how long it’ll take to get there and find a better route around the traffic jam. This is a magical being and I love her.

And, we are thankful for you, dear reader. You are why we get to put our passions to work and we hope we serve you well.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss